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Southern Festival of Books

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Charlie Spillers

First Name: 
Last Name: 
Confessions of an Undercover Agent: Adventures, Close Calls, and the Toll of a Double LIfe

was an assistant US attorney for twenty-three years, which included volunteering and serving three tours in Iraq for the Department of Justice as the justice attache for Iraq and as an attorney-adviser to the Iraqi High Tribunal. He was an adjunct professor at the University of Mississippi and currently serves as an instructor in continuing legal education courses.

Christopher Smith

First Name: 
Last Name: 
Salamanders of the Silk Road

was born on the blood-red clay of North Alabama and raised on the concrete sprawl of South Jersey. He has a master's degree in English from Auburn University, where he met his future wife, Kate, at the college newspaper. Smith lives in Clarksville, Tennessee, where he works as an editor at The Tennessean. This is his first novel.

Bob Shacochis

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Last Name: 
Kingdom in the Air: Dispatches from the Far Away

His first collection of stories, Easy in the Islands, won the National Book Award for First Fiction, and his second collection, The Next New World, was awarded the Prix de Rome from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Cherie Priest

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Last Name: 
The Family Plot

 is the author of Four and Twenty Blackbirds; 

David Olney

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Last Name: 
A Month of Sonnets

 is an international recording artist, performer, songwriter and published poet living in Nashville, TN. His weekly “You Never Know” Songwriter Series videos – where he performs a song and share the story behind it – post every Tuesday online. His intelligent compositions have been recorded by Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Del McCoury, Ann Rabson, Steve Young and many others.

Carrie Mullins

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Last Name: 
Night Garden

grew up in Mt. Vernon, Kentucky, where she still lives. This is her first novel.

Stanley Nelson

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Last Name: 
Devil's Walking: Klan Murders Along the Mississippi in the 1960's

investigative work of Concordia Sentinel editor Stanley Nelson made him a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting and has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and on CNN and NPR. Winner of the Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, among many other honors, Nelson was one of seven reporters featured in the Columbia Journalism Review’s 50th anniversary issue, “The Art of Great Reporting."

Shannon Messenger

First Name: 
Last Name: 
Let the Wind Rise

graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she learned—among other things—that she liked watching movies much better than making them. She’s studied art, screenwriting, and television production, but realized her real passion was writing for kids and teens. She is the author of the middle grade series Keeper of the Lost Cities and the Sky Fall series for young adults.

James Davis May

First Name: 
James Davis
Last Name: 
Unquiet Things

is originally from Pittsburgh, and now lives in the Georgia mountains. His poems have appeared in Five Points, the Missouri Review, New England Review, New Ohio Review, New Republic, Rattle, and The Southern Review, among others. He is married to poet Chelsea Rathburn.

Kristi Maxwell

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Last Name: 
That Our Eyes Be Rigged

born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., she currently lives in Knoxville, where she is a full-time lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Tennessee. In the fall, she will join the English department at the University of Louisville as an assistant professor of creative writing and literature. She is also the author of Realm Sixty-four (Ahsahta Press), Hush Sessions (Saturnalia Books), Re- (Ashahta), and PLAN/K (Horse Less Press).

Joseph Millichap

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Last Name: 
The Language of Vision: Photography and Southern Literature in the 1930s and 1940s

, professor emeritus of English at Western Kentucky University, has taught and published widely in American and southern literature, art, and culture. He is the author of eight books, including Robert Penn Warren after Audubon: the Work of Aging and the Quest for Transcendence in His Later Poetry, and more than one hundred articles and essays.                                                


Jean M. Malone

First Name: 
Jean M.
Last Name: 
Dexter the Very Good Goat

is a librarian, author of three All-Aboard Readers for Penguin, and a former Nashville Zoo volunteer.

Carole Brown Knuth

First Name: 
Carole Brown
Last Name: 
When the Morning Breaks: Joy for the Journey

is a native of South Carolina. She holds a PhD in English literature and taught at Buffalo State College for over thirty years. Now retired from academe, she is a Reiki Master Teacher and Practitioner who works primarily with cancer patients. She resides in Buffalo, New York.

Ashley Blake Herring

First Name: 
Ashley Blake
Last Name: 
Suffer Love

lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and two boys. She has worked as a songwriter and performer, substitute teacher, barista, ABA therapist, and a special education teacher in a private school for kids with autism.

Winston Groom

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Last Name: 
El Paso: A Novel

is the author of twenty previous books, including Forrest Gump,  Conversations with the Enemy (Pulitzer Prize finalist), Shiloh  1862, and The Generals. He served in Vietnam with the Fourth  Infantry Division and lives in Point Clear, Alabama.